Krohn Racing prepares for level playing field in 6 Hours of Sao Paulo

#57 Krohn Racing Ferrari 458 Italia: Tracy Krohn, Nic Jˆnsson, Michele Rugolo
#57 Krohn Racing Ferrari 458 Italia: Tracy Krohn, Nic Jˆnsson, Michele Rugolo

Photo by: Daniel James Smith

The Krohn Racing GTE-Am Team feels the 6 Hours of São Paulo race on September 15 will be a level playing field for most FIA World Endurance Championship teams. As the inaugural endurance race at the 2.676-mile (4.309 km) circuit for FIA WEC series, most competitors have never races at the famous Autodromo Jose Carlo Pace race track before.

The Interlagos circuit has been host to Formula One races since 1973, a race won by São Paulo local Emerson Fittipaldi.

Team owner/driver Tracy W. Krohn and co-drivers Nic Jönsson and Michele Rugolo are poised to continue their pursuit of the GTE-Am championship, currently second in class in the points with four races remaining on the calendar. A disqualification of the podium-finishing Labre team at the 6 Hours of Silverstone benefitted the Krohn Team with one additional finishing spot and apt points.

This weekend’s race will be the first visit to the 15-turn São Paulo, Brazil circuit for all three Krohn Racing drivers.

TRACY W. KROHN, Krohn Racing Team Owner/Driver, No. 57 Krohn Racing Ferrari F458 GTE-Am:

After the Silverstone race, Krohn Racing was elevated to a third place finish following another team’s disqualification. Please share your thoughts on that?
“We had a bit of bad luck through contact with a couple of prototypes at Silverstone. Sometimes the beta factors, the factors you don't control, work in your favor.”

We’re beginning the second half of the season and the team currently sits second in the GTE-Am championship. What is it going to take to win this championship?
“We just need to keep doing what we are doing. We think the Michelin tires make a difference for the rest of the season and we think we have a pretty good handle on the car now.”

All the teams are now pretty much on level playing field as the next four WEC circuits are new to most competitors. How can Krohn Racing get the edge at these new circuits?
“We must rely on consistency and fewer mistakes to make a difference. Everyone on the team needs to ‘double down’ with their efforts, including myself!!”

Grand-Am/NASCAR just bought the American Le Mans Series. Please share your thoughts on the new unified sports car series in the U.S.
“It’s really hard to comment on this until we know rules and schedules. Grand-Am has an opportunity to do something great here and they have begun to solicit advice from all sources. I am certain that both series have learned a great deal in the last decade, so the real value here is to optimize that ‘best practices’ base of knowledge. I am very optimistic that will occur and we would like to be a part of it!”

NIC JONSSON, No. 57 Krohn Racing Ferrari F458 GTE-Am:

All the teams are now pretty much on level playing field as the next four WEC circuits are new to most competitors. How can Krohn Racing get the edge at these new circuits?
“I think one part is to really go over data that we have from different sources that have been to the track before and study it closely. Also we go on any online games and YouTube to look at the track and get the track memorized in your mind. Then, obviously we’ll go out and walk the track when we get there and see if there is anything we need to potentially avoid and where we can gain from grip out there, blind curves and so forth. I think everyone is on pretty equal level. There are a few Brazilians that have been running there quite a bit and I saw one of the AF Corse cars have hired just Brazilians for the Sao Paulo race, so I’m sure they are going to be quick right off the bat. I also feel very confident in myself and Michele and Tracy that we will learn very quickly. I think we’ve shown that before. I don’t think there will be any deficit for us. I think we are going to go there and be very quick after the first session and we will be right on pace.”

How do you feel you can best help Tracy, as a gentleman driver, learn a brand new circuit? How do you do it yourself?
“It goes back to what I said before, Tracy has already been looking at the simulator he’s been using the past month or so of the Interlagos circuit. When we get there, we will walk around the track and study data. As soon as we have one lap, we’ll sit down with our data and our engineer and look at the video and that is going to be an important part of the learning curve to try to help Tracy and give him the confidence. If Michele and I can go at a specific speed at certain corners, Tracy can do it as well. It’s not about who’s behind the wheel. It’s about what the car can do. The car doesn’t know who is behind the wheel. If I can do, Michele can do it and Tracy can do it. Tracy normally applies the information and the stuff we talk about, like looking at video and data, very well. I’m confident that will help Tracy quite a bit and that he’ll be quick as well and likely better than most of the other gentlemen drivers in the other cars.”

MICHELE RUGOLO, No. 57 Krohn Racing Ferrari F458 GTE-Am:

We’re beginning the second half of the season and the team currently sits second in the GTE-Am championship. What is it going to take to win this championship?
“It’s pretty easy to say but difficult to do. We need to try to win races because we have been consistent during the year but we still are missing a win. So, now we have to try to take some more risks to achieve a victory.”

How do you feel you can best help Tracy, as a gentleman driver, learn a brand new circuit? How do you do it yourself?
“Nic is the personal coach of Tracy and he’s a very, very good coach. I think Nic has to be the point person for Tracy and myself. He has a reference of many tracks. He can understand immediately the tricky points and secrets and I think he can help us best to learn Interlagos.”

All of the WEC teams have a heavy schedule of four races in the next seven weeks on three continents. How difficult is that for you to juggle business and personal life and activities with a busy racing schedule like that?
“It is pretty difficult at the moment. I am trying to combine real job with my work with the race team. I’m traveling a lot at this time of the year. For sure for the next year, if there can be a wider schedule it would be better. Everyone is going to be tired from the jet lag. It’s really difficult this way.”

DAVID BROWN, Krohn Racing Team Manager/Race Engineer:

After the Silverstone race, Krohn Racing was elevated to a third place finish following another team’s disqualification. Please share your thoughts on that?
“We are able to benefit from the exclusion of the Larbre Corvette. We would prefer though to take points by beating the opposition.”

All the teams are now pretty much on level playing field as the next four WEC circuits are new to most competitors. How can Krohn Racing get the edge at these new circuits?
“We have to be well prepared in the cockpit, in the timing stand and in the pit garage. We need a good baseline car – which we think we have – and we need to make the right steps to optimize our performance.”

How do you prepare data and race strategy insight into a new circuit when you’ve not raced there before?
“We look for the salient features of the tracks, balancing cornering speed and characteristic against straight line speed. The effect on the tires of each track is something we will have to deal with when we get there. But the idea is that when we arrive we know what we are trying to achieve, we have a plan and we are able to execute the most efficient race.”

JEFF HAZELL, Krohn Racing Motorsport Manager:

All of the WEC teams have a heavy schedule of four races in the next seven weeks on three continents. How difficult is that to prepare the car between races and juggle all the team transportation needs with a busy racing schedule like that?
“Well, we eat the elephant with small bites! The tasks are numerous. Individually they are not very difficult and they fall into groups of related tasks with each of these groups the responsibility of a specialist team member. Basically, we simply move people and hardware, assemble them in a location and operate the Team. But increasing regulations on these activities mean that documentation and processing for immigration, air freight, ground movements and ‘bed and rations’ is as constant an activity as actually preparing and racing the car!

We have completed car preparation ‘on the road’ already this year for the Spa-Le Mans-Silverstone races, and we are confident that without chassis damage the service operations can be accomplished in the very limited days between races with the revolving inventory of components we have on hand. However, should we be faced with chassis damage then life will get a little bit more challenging!”

How do you see the recent Grand-Am/NASCAR buyout of the American Le Mans Series affecting sports car racing in the U.S.? In the world?
“It is too early and there is too little information to permit one to answer that question!

It will, of course, depend on the quality and continuity of a management team possessing a clear vision of what is required to be achieved within the next five years. It is not easy, as these merging organizations have so far demonstrated divergent cultures in event staging, vehicle technologies, sporting regulations, and in their attitudes to their competitors.

A new American Sportscar Series has to fit with the domestic motorsport environment, while maintaining international links as well. I would hope, and expect, to see within five years a grid with new design prototypes appropriate for the American scene and attractive for manufacturers of domestic and imported brands; lighter, safer, no more costly to run than the present Daytona Prototype, but incorporating cost-effective modern relevant technology.

The present ACO GT class is healthy and may, in future, become the only international class compatible globally with the WEC- Le Mans. Space frame GT cars should be consigned to a USA-only supporting role.

Class rationalization and obsolescence is a historically essential ingredient of International Sportscar racing. It is financially painful for teams, but, if well managed, it will improve the racing, the audiences and, with this, the commercial viability of all entities involved in racing sports cars, which we hope is the common goal.”

Source: Krohn Racing

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Series WEC
Article type Preview
Tags autodromo jose carlo pace, ferrari, fittipaldi, krohn, rugolo, sao paulo, wec

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